11th of October, 2013
I recently opened up a very inert mailing list, called Sense of Grace, dedicated only to discussing the Gospel of Grace. As in, how one is saved. Strictly soteriology, à la Jesus Christ. And we know that there is only one soteriology-à-la-Jesus-Christ, which is what Paul means when he dismisses everything else, even the very sign of Abraham, as “not even a gospel.”
But it is also often interesting, for those who have graduated from the milk of soteriology, to study the meat of things like the sense of “sin” in 1 John.
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
John himself is very clear that he is speaking of a different sense of sin, which is why he distinguishes the “sin unto death.” This, of course, is one of the things that were corrupted into the Roman Catholic doctrine of “mortal sin” and the like.
John, after all, also says what it means to sin. It is not even disobedience to Jesus Christ, since that is only for those who believe. Those who do not believe, John clearly says—and faith cometh by hearing; hearing by the word of the Grace of God—are disbelieving the testimony that God Himself has given, about His Son. They do not believe in Jesus Christ. They disobey God. That is the sin leading to death.
Even at the height of its apostasy, Roman Catholicism still fervently insisted that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, and is therefore not anti-Christ.
This letter also has the most-open definition of “Christianity” (if it had been Christianity that he meant), where even some Arian heretics probably qualify—and the Nestorians certainly qualify, as do their heirs, and the heirs to their expulsion, the Three-Self Patriotic Church—but I must point out that Islam clearly and resoundingly denies every article of 1 John in particular. This 1 John, let us not forget, is the letter that dwells on defining and teaching against the “antichrist” most of any book (far more than the more-famous Revelation). It is the letter that speaks of those who were with them (and therefore kind-of similar), but who left because they didn’t belong with God.
John emphasises that it is also the blood (cross), not just the water (virgin birth). And Christians are just so excited about Islam accepting the virgin birth! Islam forbids believing in the cross. The Dome of the Rock—on the Temple Mount—has the Qur’anic verses that forbid the ultimate blasphemy in Islam: saying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Now, if you know to read the signs of the times, and you have, for instance, a little son to train up as a cultural resistance fighter, you know that the antidote to the coming cultural influences is 1 John. Others have other reasons. Many unlikely people in many places, for different reasons (some of them darkly comical, as in Europe, people are realising that Islam is the religion of the future. Now if you remain in religion, you are headed to Islam. I even heard of a best-seller entitled The Islamic Antichrist. Hey, if there weren’t anything shocking, why would the book have been sealed up? In any case, would you circumcise your son, if you knew that this was the case?
In the sense of 1 John, things like Islam would be the unrighteousness that John calls sin and juxtaposes against the sin not leading to death. Indeed, the Qur’an is the anti-1 John. If you do not know this, you do not know about one or both of Islam and 1 John.
Now, if you expect this to be an important matter, you ought to prepare well in advance for that reality, not least because the time is so late. For those who have not known the Grace of God in the first place, the sin John speaks of is something else, most-probably something against a tradition of men. Now those who know, those are in Jesus Christ. They do not sin—the sense of sin that John is speaking of. (He even has a unique title for Jesus in this letter: Jesus the Righteous.)
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.